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“Tin Foil Hat Caucus” Debates “Mind Control” at NH State House

Image provided by Granite State Progress
Image provided by Granite State Progress
February 7, 2013

CONCORD, N.H. - State lawmakers considered a measure on Wednesday to prohibit local communities from participating in a United Nations program. Critics said the debate was full of conspiracy theories and a waste of legislators' time.

Zandra Rice-Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, dubbed the conservative lawmakers who supported the measure the "Tin Foil Hat Caucus." She found it hard to believe that they took time for this discussion when the state is facing more pressing issues, like the need for jobs.

"They're talking about such extreme things as 'mind control' and saying the United Nations is trying to take over our country," she said. "This is ridiculous. It's a waste of our time, when there's real, important issues that could be addressed in the State House."

HB 144 sought to prevent communities from participating in a United Nations program that supports local sustainability, clean energy and climate protection initiatives.

Bill supporter Rep. Lenette Peterson warned that the U.N. program was part of an effort at "global control and redistrict over your daily life, including your private property, individual rights and civil liberties."

Rice-Hawkins warned that Concord is not the only state capitol where conservative lawmakers are railing against the United Nations.

"This bill is being pushed by groups like the John Birch Society and ALEC," she explained. "It's the type of legislation we've seen pop up in other states - it's a ridiculous effort and it needs to be stopped."

Lawmakers heard testimony from locals, such as Nashua Mayor Donalee Lozeau, that they appreciate United Nations involvement in their towns, Rice Hawkins added.

"This is something that communities in our state have volunteered to participate in and they are finding value in. The conspiracy theories being thrown around by some of these extreme legislators really don't match how the programs are being enacted in our state."

In the end, the New Hampshire House killed the bill, with 141 votes in favor and 211 opposed.

A recording of the debate, which begins about 45 minutes into the morning session, is available online at www.gencourt.state.nh.us.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH